A weekend in the windy city {Dublin}

I know, I know, okay? When people refer to the ‘windy city’, they mean Chicago. But when we visited Dublin last month, Ireland’s capital made a very serious case for claiming the title. It also drizzled very lightly the entire time. It is not an exaggeration to say that even when it was sunny it was drizzling. But despite the adverse weather conditions and the almost knife fight which we witnessed outside a pub (I wish I was joking) we had a lovely time.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the north of Ireland – it’s where my mum is from – but very little in the South (the Republic). But one thing that all of Ireland has in common is that it feels its history very keenly. I think this probably has to do with the fact the violent events which have defined the country’s history are not long over. And sometimes the odd headline reminds you that those issues are not entirely laid to rest. So you cannot visit Dublin and avoid the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent fight for independence from Britain. Photographs of the revolutionary leaders adorn pub walls; songs tell old stories of national pride. The bullet holes from 1916 still pepper the walls of the General Post Office.

Here are a collection of photographs from the city – I hope you’ll enjoy flicking through. Oh, and if you need a soundtrack, the first picture is of folk heroine Molly Malone, her statue stands in Grafton Street.  Here is The Dubliner’s version of the wonderful song about her.


Molly Malone, Grafton Street


The Guinness Factory


General Post Office, O’Connell Street


Pint of Guinness


The Old City


Temple Bar


Light bulb moment


Cream bicycle on cobbles


The River Liffey


Irish election poster






Dublin Castle


Ocean currents

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

The Friday Frame {18} Museum giggles

This has to be one of my favourite photographs: it makes me grin from ear to ear.  I took it on a recent trip home to see my parents – this is my boyfriend and my dad on an Edwardian tram in the Beamish Museum. We had a lovely sunny day out looking at all the interesting bits and pieces in the old fashioned shops and cottages. We were probably all laughing at some silly joke or other when this was taken – the best photographs are unplanned!


Dad is a trendsetter as ever with his baseball cap

Listening to Photographs by Joshua Radin, Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and You can call me Al by Paul Simon.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

‘If I should have a daughter…’

Today it’s Mother’s Day in the UK. Or, to give it its traditional name, Mothering Sunday. Sitting in the pub yesterday evening, somebody suddenly exclaimed that they’d forgotten to post their Mother’s Day card: a phone call would have to do this year. Another of my friends piped up that he hadn’t sent a card at all, because well, what was the actual point of Mother’s Day anyway? Isn’t it just a festival made up, seemingly like so many others, to get us all to buy things in order to say thank-yous that we should be saying all year anyway? Well, yes, perhaps in some ways. When I mentioned what I knew of the day’s history, he was surprised. And interested. I don’t think many people know about the day’s roots, so I looked into it a little more, and felt like it might be an interesting little nugget to share here (any excuse for a bit of history…).

Mothering Sunday started off as the day that people would return to their ‘mother church’: the church in the place where they had grown up, in about the sixteenth century. It later became the day that those ‘in service’ away from home would go home to see their mothers: traditionally, they’d pick wildflowers on the way to give as presents. This tradition then evolved into the day that we know today: a day to say thank you to our mothers. But not just our mothers. At our church growing up we used to give out daffodils on Mothering Sunday: not just to women with children, but to all of the women. Historically, Mother’s Day was always about coming home; remembering the place and the people you came from, and it makes sense that Mother’s Day should still serve as a moment to be grateful for all of the women who have made us the people we are today, whether they are related to us or not. Yes, in some ways it is hideously commercialised, but any day that makes us pause and say thank you can’t be all bad.

So, thank you to my mum, of course, who I know diligently reads my blog. And her dedication and support in that department sums up her approach to mothering in all of my twenty two years. Always there, often in the background, caring and loving and never asking for anything in return. The safest of refuges no matter what happens. Love you mum! And thank you to all of the other amazing women, whether they’ve been in my life fleetingly or since the beginning, who have taught me so much about grace, wisdom, bravery and just getting on with stuff.

And to finish, the indomitable Sarah Kay, on mothers, and the kind of mother she would like to be. A perfect, passionate poem about mothers and daughters. It’s entitled ‘B’. Enjoy!

Listening to: Budapest by George Ezra, 212 by Azalea Banks and Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars.

The poem is of course by Sarah Kay. All other content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Friday Frame {2} Painted Cultures


This week’s image is of street art on the side of a building in Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, Poland. Once a thriving centre of Jewish life, the area was tragically decimated during the Holocaust and very few Jewish people still live there, but the Hebrew lettering in the graffiti seems to echo the building’s past.


Graffiti, The Jewish Quarter in Krakow, Poland. 2014.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.


Escape to the Cotswolds

Picture the scene: it’s just over a week before history final exams begin. The most exciting thing that happened all week was finding that someone had stuck googly eyes onto the picture of the Greek philosopher in the library. You’re beginning to try to draw elaborate mind maps in your sleep, and all of your major life decisions revolve around transforming yourself into the ultimate revision machine. Bed at 10pm is completely necessary, and smoothies with spinach in (i.e. that taste like grass) have become your fuel in a desperate bid to avoid caffeine crashes.

Then, suddenly, your boyfriend tells you that his parents have offered to take you both away for a few days to the Cotswolds, the beauty spot just a few miles down the road. But, he continues, that would probably be far too stressful: can we really afford to take the time off at this point? Er, YES? Anything to escape the dreaming spires of expectation, colour-coding and mountains of books.

And so we ended up taking a weekend away at the perfect time. Here are some photographs from our mini-adventure: hum the theme tune to The Great Escape as you flick through them and you’ll get a sense of the thrill we got from sneaking away from Oxford in the height of revision season.

On the first day, we were in a small village called Burford when we emerged from one of the shops on the main street to be greeted by a strange sight, even by rural English standards. 17th century soldiers and musicians appeared to be marched down the centre of the road wielding peace flags. A man standing outside a shop selling an alarming range of different sized baskets (think, hot air balloon size) met our confusion with an explanation that it was ‘Levellers’ Day’. We were none the wiser, but when I googled it back at the hotel it turned out that the parade was commemorating an incident from the English civil war, when three Leveller soldiers were executed in Burford churchyard by Oliver Cromwell. The Levellers were a revolutionary group who advocated civil rights and democracy, and every year Burford plays host to a procession and series of debates relating to freedom and democracy in honour of these men.  You can find out more here.

After a night in the beautiful Dial House Hotel a walk around the grounds of Sudeley Castle was the perfect way to spend a sunny morning: it was just beautiful, the perfect antidote to dusty libraries set against a clear blue sky.

By the end of a lovely, sunny weekend we were feeling much better, and returned to Oxford as ready as we ever would be to face the dreaded spectre of the Final Honours School, but more on that to follow.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.

Inside the cover

In my never-ending search for new ways to procrastinate, I’ve recently spent hours poring over both the printed and handwritten dedications in the first few pages of books. I love the sentiments that they reveal: even in serious academic books, they represent a moment when the author lets their guard down and reveals the emotional dimension of their hard work. And the handwritten notes which you sometimes come across are a prime opportunity to daydream about the stories of those who wrote them, and those who received the books as gifts. Here are some of the dedications I’ve come across in libraries and on the bookshelves in my own home, that have made me smile.

This one seemed a good way to start: New Selected Poems, 1984- 2004 by Carol Ann Duffy. This was a present from my Dad a couple of Christmasses ago, and he included a note with words to live by. Of late my Dad has subscribed to the school of thought that gasps in horror at the thought of actually writing in a book, and this note was tucked into the front cover instead. (See evidence of his younger and more reckless self writing in a book below! *gasp*)


‘I have never found any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.’ Baron de Montesquieu. With love to Bex from Dad at Christmas 2012

I came across this beautifully romantic dedication in a sociology book I was reading for my thesis research: Hidden Rhythms by Eviatar Zerubavel. I think it speaks for itself.


To Noga, my starlight

Next, a discovery I made in my Dad’s study: Painting from A to Z by James Lawrance, a book which belonged to his Dad, and was given to him during his apprenticeship as a Painter and Decorator in the 1950s. My grandfather, who I never met, has written his name and the date in the front cover, in a smudgy blue ink. I love this little piece of family history, and it’s also a pretty comprehensive guide to all things decorating! Polychrome staining, anyone?

A to Z


J Daley, 20/6/56

The next book was on the bookshelf in my room, but it actually belongs to my Mum, and is one of her favourites: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. First, can we all please appreciate the fabulous 1980’s cover art, an image from the 1984 film of the same name. This book was a gift from my Dad to my Mum on what would have been their first wedding anniversary in 1988. They still watch the film together every so often- awwww.



To Heather, With all my love, from Joe x Happy Anniversary 1988

And an amusing one to finish: The Procrastination Equation by Dr Piers Steel. In an effort to become more focussed before exams I got this out of my college library, and opened the front cover to discover that the irony of having this book available in a library where people are meant to be working on other things had not escaped those before me.



Explore more weird, wonderful and touching things found in books herehere and here.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.